Apr 25, 2015

Director: Stephen Biro
Stars: Ashley Lynn Caputo, Lilly Dickenson, Eight The Chosen One

By now you already know that last October I was in Austin, Texas for the Housecore Horror Film Festival. Aside from showing rare VHS films (The Mutilator) in the VHS Vomitorium and classic horror films, on real film, (Shockwaves), they also featured new independent horror films. I have already reviewed on of the audience favorites (Pieces of Talent (2014), and now it is time for the film that was so popular there was an impromptu second screening.

Directed by Stephen Biro, this film was made to revitalize the infamous Guinea Pig series. I remember trying to find bootleg Guinea Pig films at conventions fifteen years ago, because that was really the only way to find examples of rare extreme cinema. Biro is also an entrepreneur that runs Unearthed Films, a company that is finding and reissuing the most insane films that extreme cinema has to offer. Thanks to him, you can buy every Guinea Pig film on DVD, individually or as a box set. Thanks to him, we also have another film in the series. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore is his new vision for the series. He created this film as a prequel to the most famous of all of the films in the series Flowers of Flesh and Blood. This was the film that Charlie Sheen saw and actually reported to the FBI because he thought it was a real snuff film. The filmmakers were later put on trial where they had to prove in court that their brutal special effects were indeed fake.

As for Biro’s film, it is impressive. The lack of sound and dialogue make the film unsettling to say the least. At times, I actually thought some lines seemed a little repetitive and out of place. This is probably because to me the power of the film is in the imagery and I could have watched it with almost no dialogue at all. I do like the conversation regarding how the film came to exist though. After most of the torture, towards the end of the film, there is a quick scene where the¬†characters’ motivations and the origin of the film are revealed. This was must have dialogue and it revealed something about the overall plot line that many of the older films did not quite possess.

Biro’s film revitalizes the series by not only making it relevant again, but also by giving the viewer some meaningful back story. He also does a great job of moving between two different cameras throughout the film. There are scenes of higher definition mixed in with scenes that seemed to have been shot on an old school video recorder. This was a very cool way to break up the monotony that you could have had if you only had a single camera running on this tiny room the whole time. I do think, however, that we missed out on some of the best effects because there were a few times where he went grainy when I wanted a HD shot. Again, just like my dialogue issue, this is just an issue of personal preference. I was also at a showing of a film that had not been fully edited. We were lucky enough to see an uncut version, so what you eventually see on the DVD (being released in July) may be a little different from what I saw at the festival.

Overall, just being able to see a film in the final stages of production and being able to meet the filmmakers after was quite an experience. They were also shooting reaction footage, so my self-centeredness will probably make me buy the DVD just to see if I made the DVD special features. I may not make it though. I was one of the few people that didn’t look like they were going to throw up half the time, so I don’t know if the desensitized psychos make it onto the DVD reaction footage.

If I have to give the film a rating, I guess I would say a strong 8/10, but this film will not be for everyone. Tons of you may not even be able to watch the whole thing, and tell me that it’s complete trash. However, it is extreme cinema, and if you are even thinking of watching it it is probably because you know what are getting into. My only issues with the film were those of personal preference. I am also a crazy person, so I am not going to say this is the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen. I think I actually expected it to be even crazier than it was. If you can make it through the whole film and you get to the final scene, you will know what I’m saying when I say that if they would have went through with that scene, it definitely would have been the disturbing film I’ve ever seen.